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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

The Neocon Media Machine

"A Great Little Racket": The Neocon Media Machine By Eli Clifton From high-brow intellectualism to tabloid spin, the neoconservative movement has evolved in ways that its early progenitors could hardly have imagined. The result is a well-oiled media machine that continues to impact policymaking, even as the neoconservatives themselves fall deeper into ill repute. Read…

"A Great Little Racket": The Neocon Media Machine
By Eli Clifton

From high-brow intellectualism to tabloid spin, the neoconservative movement has evolved in ways that its early progenitors could hardly have imagined. The result is a well-oiled media machine that continues to impact policymaking, even as the neoconservatives themselves fall deeper into ill repute. Read full story.

RELATED RIGHT WEB PROFILES

Irving Kristol
The founder of a number of influential neoconservative journals, Irving Kristol’s media enterprise helped blaze the faction’s ideological trail. However, the neocon "godfather" has remained largely on the sidelines in the campaign to extend the war on terror and reshape the Middle East.

William Kristol
Cofounder of the Weekly Standard and the Project for the New American Century, William Kristol (son of Irving) spearheaded the neoconservative resurgence in U.S. politics in the 1990s and played a key role championing the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror.

National Interest
Founded by Irving Kristol in the mid-1980s to serve as a foreign affairs counterpart to his public policy outlet the Public Interest, the National Interest has in recent years turned into a forum of fierce debate over the best course for U.S. foreign policy, pitting realists against neoconservatives.

Weekly Standard
"Speaking to and for power," the neoconservative incubator Weekly Standard, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, has been an effective champion of U.S. overseas adventurism.

Rupert Murdoch
With Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and some 175 additional media holdings at his disposal, Murdoch and his News Corp. have been formidable friends of the Bush administration and its neocon allies.

Norman Podhoretz
Editor of the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary for decades, Norman Podhoretz has shaped many of the themes that have become core elements of neoconservative discourse—the fight against "appeasement," overcoming "moral weakness," the centrality of the Holocaust, and the righteousness of U.S. military power. More recently, he has become a vocal champion of the notion that America is currently engaged in a deadly global struggle that he terms "World War IV."

John Podhoretz
"JPod," as he is known in some corners of the blogosphere, is a neocon scion who contributes to a number of News Corp. media outlets, including Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and the New York Post. He frequently mixes pop culture with politics and is terrified by the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Robert Kagan
Columnist for the Washington Post, writer for the Weekly Standard, cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of a several influential books on U.S. foreign policy, Kagan is a true believer in the efficacy of hard power who supports higher troop levels in Iraq.

Charles Krauthammer
With his columns appearing in the Washington Post and dozens of other U.S. newspapers, Krauthammer is a highly influential proponent of the neocon agenda, including expanding the war on terror to Iran and Syria and imposing democracy on U.S. opponents.

Max Boot
From his perch at outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the Weekly Standard, Max Boot, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, justifies torture, calls for occupying foreign oil fields, and argues for embracing America’s "imperial role."

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Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


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From the Wires

François Nicoullaud, the former French ambassador to Iran, discusses the ups and downs of Iran-France relations and the new US sanctions.


Effective alliances require that powerful states shoulder a far larger share of the alliance maintenance costs than other states, a premise that Donald Trump rejects.


The new imbroglio over the INF treaty does not mean a revival of the old Cold War practice of nuclear deterrence. However, it does reveal the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to deal with the latter’s inevitable return to the ranks of major powers, a need that was obvious even at the time the USSR collapsed.


As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door. But as the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense reveals, little has changed. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.


Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


The same calculus that brought Iran and world powers to make a deal and has led remaining JCPOA signatories to preserve it without the U.S. still holds: the alternatives to this agreement – a race between sanctions and centrifuges that could culminate in Iran obtaining the bomb or being bombed – would be much worse.


With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


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